Biden China Tracker

by Malcolm Riddell

U.S. - EU Coalitions
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1 | The first U.S.-EU alliance against China

CHINADebate

CHINADebate

Malcolm Riddell
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Founder of CHINADebate

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March 25, 2021
1 | The first U.S.-EU alliance against China
1 | The first U.S.-EU alliance against China
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U.S. - EU Coalitions

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Building U.S. - EU Coalitions to Counter China: Why China Is Joe Biden's Biggest Asset

"Europeans will have to step up their reaction against China after insults, intimidation and sanctions against scholars and MPs. This isn't about siding with America, it's about defending European sovereignty against a bully."

'By the time Antony Blinken's plane touched down in Brussels on Monday night,' writes Stephan Lau of Politico EU, 'America's top diplomat had already acquired an unlikely ally in his push for a deeper transatlantic partnership: China.'

  • 'When Blinken meets European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell on Wednesday, however, he will find the mood has shifted and that he has an unexpectedly ripe opportunity to press Europe to reconsider its choice and join the Americans.'
  • Here's why.  

As has been often noted, the chief thing that distinguishes President Biden’s China strategy from the previous administration’s is the aim to create coalitions to confront China on specific issues.

  • The problem with that is that a lot of other countries, especially in the EU, don’t seem ready to get on board.

Thank goodness for Mr. Biden that China is lending a helping hand.

  • The most recent example was on display this week.

‘This week Joe Biden made good on his campaign promise to work more with allies to pressure China, coordinating with U.S. partners to impose sanctions over alleged human-rights abuses in Xinjiang,’ says Bloomberg.

  • ‘Beijing’s response: Hit back at the allies as hard as possible.’

As the Editorial Board of the Financial Times notes:

  • ‘Co-ordinated western sanctions imposed this week on a small number of Chinese officials for their role in human rights abuses in Xinjiang are welcome if overdue.’
  • ‘On Monday the US, EU, UK and Canada together imposed asset freezes and travel bans on four officials and a security organisation implicated in the persecution and internment of Uyghurs.’

‘The retribution is modest given the crimes.'

  • 'But for the first time since the Tiananmen Square protests were crushed in 1989, western governments have taken co-ordinated action to punish human rights abuses in China.’

Given that China is keen to do its best to prevent the U.S. from bringing the EU into further coalitions – ‘Beijing has in recent years used a divide-and-conquer approach with national capitals to undermine a common EU front’ - you would think that China would have made a measured response. Nope.

  • ‘China retaliated against EU sanctions by punishing several parliamentarians, analysts, and Merics, a think-tank on China based in Berlin known for its judicious analysis.’
  • ‘It also targeted the committee of 27 member-state ambassadors to the EU who oversee foreign and security policy.’

‘With its Xinjiang abuses and overreaction on sanctions, Beijing has managed the rare feat of uniting the EU on a foreign policy issue.’

  • ‘By targeting critics of its actions and analysts who refuse to toe its line, Beijing has demonstrated its totalitarian mindset.’
  • ‘By punishing European Parliament members, it has made it all but impossible for that legislature to ratify the “Comprehensive Agreement on Investment” with China.’

This last point in particular is what makes China’s strong reaction to the EU’s relatively innocuous sanctions hard to understand.

  • Some have said that China didn’t have that much to gain, so perhaps Beijing doesn’t care if the  “Comprehensive Agreement on Investment” isn’t ratified. ·
  • Or, as others have suggested, one of China’s purposes in the deal was to drive a wedge between the U.S. and the EU. In that case, the work is already done. ·
  • Whatever the reason, China made it clear that asserting what it considers its rights is more important than this agreement.
  • [Pro Tip: If your corporate or investment strategy in any way depends on the EU’s ratifying “Comprehensive Agreement on Investment” with China, it’s time to start revising your strategy.]  

CHINADebate

CHINADebate

Malcolm Riddell
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CHINADebate

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Biden Doctrine
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The Biden Doctrine and Its Discontents

President Biden has framed China as a threat both to the U.S. and the liberal world order.
7/15/2021

The Economist

CHINADebate

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Biden Doctrine
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'What's Wrong with Biden’s new China doctrine'

‘Mr Biden’s aides invariably start any discussion of China strategy with the need to restore American greatness after decades of decline.’
7/15/2021

The Economist

CHINADebate

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Biden Doctrine
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Part 2 | Joe Biden is determined that China should not displace America

‘Mr Biden’s aides invariably start any discussion of China strategy with the need to restore American greatness after decades of decline.’
7/15/2021

The Economist

CHINADebate

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Biden Doctrine
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Part 1 | 'Joe Biden is determined that China should not displace America'

‘Biden’s emerging China strategy, while still protean, sounds of a kind with Mr Doshi’s prescription for “blunting and building”.’
7/15/2021

Center for Strategic and International Studies

CHINADebate

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Pierre Morcos | Center for Strategic and International Studies
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G7 to D10
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'NATO & China's Challenges to Europe'

‘Even though China does not pose a direct military threat to NATO, contrary to Russia or terrorist groups, Beijing’s growing economic influence and diplomatic assertiveness in Europe coupled with its growing military relationship with Russia do have major implications for the transatlantic economy as well as its security.’
6/9/2021

CHINADebate

CHINADebate

Malcolm Riddell
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CHINADebate

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G7 to D10
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Biden Worries China Might Win

‘Biden has taken the vital first step of correctly diagnosing the strategic challenge facing the country.’ ‘Like Harry Truman at the start of the Cold War and George H. W. Bush at its end, the president now has an opportunity to create a framework for a new era.’
6/9/2021

The Washington Post

CHINADebate

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Joe Biden | President of the United States
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G7 to D10
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Joe Biden: 'My trip to Europe is about America rallying the world’s democracies'

‘This is a defining question of our time: Can democracies come together to deliver real results for our people in a rapidly changing world?’
6/9/2021

The Atlantic

CHINADebate

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Thomas Wright | Brookings
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G7 to D10
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'Joe Biden Worries That China Might Win'

‘Biden worries that China is in competition for America, and not only that—they might win. This belief underpins the Biden doctrine.’
6/9/2021

The Atlantic Council

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G7 to D10
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'From the G7 to a D-10: Strengthening democratic cooperation for today's challenges'

‘A “Democratic-10” or “D-10” is aimed at rallying the world’s most powerful democracies around a common cause— advancing a rules-based democratic order based on shared values and common interests.’
6/9/2021

Brookings

CHINADebate

Cheng Li
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Brookings

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Biden’s China strategy
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Postscript: China Doubts U.S. Allies Support

'Chinese leadership is also cynical about the effectiveness of a U.S.-led Cold War-style bloc.’
5/30/2021

Brookings

CHINADebate

Cheng Li
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Brookings

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Biden’s China strategy
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China's ‘Anti-Hegemonist Bloc’

‘To counter U.S. coalition building, China has enhanced its diplomatic, economic, and military relationship with both Russia and Iran in recent months, resulting in the closest ties these countries have had in the post-Cold War era.’
5/30/2021

CHINADebate

CHINADebate

Malcolm Riddell
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CHINADebate

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Biden’s China strategy
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What China Thinks About Biden's China Policy

And that is what makes Cheng Li’s ‘Biden’s China strategy: Coalition-driven competition or Cold War-style confrontation?' so valuable. Cheng has decades of close relationships with China’s leaders and high officials. They trust him not to attribute their comments and so speak freely and honestly to him. Cheng is the person I rely on most to convey China’s positions.
5/30/2021

Brookings

CHINADebate

Cheng Li
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Brookings

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Biden’s China strategy
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'Final Thoughts'

'Just as Brzezinski foresaw the two new contending blocs –– requiring greater “geostrategic skill” –– that are forming today, Kissinger has emphasized the unprecedented dangers that AI could introduce into a divided world.’
5/30/2021

Brookings

CHINADebate

Cheng Li
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Brookings

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Biden’s China strategy
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Worse for China than Trump

‘Many Chinese now believe that the Biden administration could be more detrimental to U.S.-China relations than the Trump administration.’
5/30/2021

Brookings

CHINADebate

Cheng Li
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Brookings

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Biden’s China strategy
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The Trump Legacy

‘From Beijing’s perspective, the hawkish approach to China in the final year of the Trump administration revealed that the Trump team sought to defeat and destroy China in much the same way that the United States defeated the Soviet Union in the Cold War.’
5/30/2021

Brookings

CHINADebate

Cheng Li
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Brookings

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Biden’s China strategy
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'Biden’s China strategy: Coalition-driven competition or Cold War-style confrontation?'

‘Senior officials on the foreign policy team have frequently emphasized three “C” words: competition, cooperation, and confrontation.’
5/30/2021

Brookings

CHINADebate

Cheng Li
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Brookings

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Biden’s China strategy
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Biden’s ‘Anti-China Bloc’

‘Throughout President Joe Biden’s first 100 days in office, his administration has largely continued the Trump administration’s hawkish approach toward China.’ ‘President Biden has also made international coalition building to confront the growing power and influence of China his primary foreign policy initiative.’ ‘Chinese leaders and the public are not convinced by the statements recently made by President Biden that these U.S.-led alliances are “not anti-Chinese” and that the United States is “not looking for confrontation” with China.’
5/30/2021

Ministry of Foreign Affairs, PRC

CHINADebate

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Wang Wenbin | Foreign Ministry Spokesperson
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Biden’s First 100 Days
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'China's Response to Biden's Speech'

‘It is natural for the two sides to have competition in some fields, but we should advocate fair competition, like competing with each other for excellence in a racing field, not beating each other on a wrestling arena.’
4/29/2021